Black bears are thriving in North Carolina. There are now more bears in the Park than at any time in the last 50 years.
The black bear population was on he verge of extinction in the early 1900's but now, the Wildlife Commission estimates that the bear population in the mountain county's is at 3,000 and 1,807 bears live in the Park.
North Carolina has two bear hunting season, one in October and one in December. Researchers say that if we didn't have the hunting seasons, there would be so many bears to the amount of people that we probably would not be able to get along. In the 1998-1999 hunting season, hunters bagged 421 bears. Of course hunting is prohibited in the Park.
North Carolina has about 3 million acres of relatively contiguous bear habitat, which provides ample room for roaming, and prevents inbreeding. In addition, bears are not particularly susceptible to disease.
Bears can live in excess of 20 years. Most of the bears killed are bagged by hunters or hit by cars.